Azores Promotion Board
||Cabo da Praia (Terceira)
still a Western Palearctic wader hot-spot?
|Monitoring in progress at Cabo da Praia 2007-02-03.
Photo: Bosse Carlsson
August 2007: The waders are still there! As you might
have noticed elsewhere a Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica (new
for the Azores) was spotted in the quarry by Peter Alfrey and Simon Buckell
the 25th of July.
But there is still some construction work going on, and the best way to
approach the area is via Canada da Faneca (see under February 2006 below).
However we have got a promising report from Marco Lopes,
who is the biologist monitoring the environmental program set up by the
constructors. There will be no further land demand for the constructions,
and some of the closer areas, now occupied with temporary equipment, will
be cleaned up at the end of the construction works. There are also future
plans for cleaning the area from waste that was dumped there before the
construction period and improvements for bird watching. (Hopefully this
would include a straight way in, a parking place and a small shelter.)
The monitoring activities that are carried out by Marco
Lopes during the construction period include:
1- Environmental audits (in the construction area)
2- Noise monitoring - Results good (range from 42 - 49 dBA)
3- Water quality - Results good; - (two complete water analyses)
4- Air quality - PM10. Relatively high (reducing in result of the ending
of the construction. It also moved further way form the sensitive area)
(three complete campaigns);
5- Vegetation (species and surface occupation); - finishing surface distribution
and species identification;
6- Bird fauna - (last three month - weekly) apparently stable
The bird fauna that is counted (low tide and high tide)
include only the most common species: Charadrius alexandrinus,
Arenaria interpres, Sterna hirundo, and Sterna dougallii.
For the waders the number of Charadris alexandrinus was between
96 and 126 birds with an average of 112 (May and June). The corresponding
number for Arenaria interpres was between 29 and 68, with an average
of 54 birds.
The monitoring activities will go on with next campaign
(air, water, and noise) in late August and September. Any additional complete
wader counts from visiting birders are most welcome, especially if all
species are counted. Please send data to
Birding Azores and we will compile and forward them to the right address.
The construction work is planned to end in October this
year, and below you can see a key map of the area.
October 2006: More hope for the wader site at Cabo da
Praia? The construction works, i.e. the transferring of more areas of
tidal pools into industrial land, seem to have stopped. And there are
some rumours about nature protection actions taken from the authorities.
We are trying to check this out, and will be back if we get any more news.
All of you that have visited the site this autumn, or have been following
what has been seen in "Recent sightings", have noticed that the locality
still is of a very high importance for waders.
March 2006: There might still be some hope? When Bosse Carlsson
visited the area on the 22th, he noted that the ground preparing work
seemed to be stopped. There were now instead constructing activities on
prepared areas, but no more work was carried out in the southernmost part.
Furthermore Luis Costa, Director Executivo of SPEA gives the following
information in mid March: "Soon after becoming aware of the ongoing
construction of this well-known site in mid-February, SPEA (BirdLife in
Portugal) has contacted formally and informally with several contacts
at the Azores government regional ministries of Environment and the Economy.
I have talked in person with the regional minister of environment, and
she is by now well aware about the importance and uniqueness of the site,
and was going to convey the message to all the relevant people.
The development in question is associated with an expansion of the fuel
depot, and is promoted by the regional ministry of economy. The development
has been subjected to an EIA assessment, and SPEA has already asked for
all the relevant documents to check conformity.
We will send you an update at a later stage, but would like to reassure
you that we are doing our best to secure the conservation of this site."
When visiting the site March 22, Bosse noted the following number of
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula: 1, Kentish Plover Charadrius
alexandrinus: 30, Red Knot Calidris canutus: 3, Sanderling
Calidris alba: 60, Little Stint Calidris minuta: 3, Curlew
Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea: 2, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa
limosa: 1, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica: Whimbrel Numenius
p. phaeopus: 4, and Turnstone Arenaria interpres: 50.
February 2006: At the quarry in Cabo da Praia the construction
work is continuing and the area is now partly fenced off, and even
the southern part seems threatened. The number of birds has decreased
and in worst case the wader count on 12th February 2006 may be one
of the last concerning good numbers of several species: Ringed Plover
Charadrius hiaticula: 3, Semipalmated Plover Charadrius
semipalmatus: 1, Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus:
39, Red Knot Calidris canutus: 3, Sanderling Calidris
alba: 41, Little Stint Calidris minuta: 3, Least Sandpiper
Calidris minutilla: 1, White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris
fuscicollis: 1, Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea:
2, Dunlin Calidris alpina: 4, Ruff Philomachus pugnax:
1, Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa: 1, Whimbrel Numenius
p. phaeopus: 6 and Turnstone Arenaria interpres: 29.
The best way to approach the wader site is now
to skip the main road down to the southern harbour area. Take instead
the next (south of) small road to the left (Canada da Faneca), go
past the houses up to the top and walk down the last part. You now
end up on top of the southwest part of the site.
Staffan Rodebrand, Sweden
January 2006: Over the last few years almost half of the area
at the quarry on the southern side of Cabo da Praia has been destroyed
as a wader resting habitat. Since November last year there have been
new activities going on, and the small vegetated pools in the northern
part where Tringa waders and Pectoral Sandpipers like to hide are
now just a memory. Will it stop here or will the construction works
carry on further south to the now only remaining part? Furthermore,
the dumping of rubbish seems to increase it is probably too
long to go to the official rubbish dump northeast of Angra (the so
called Terceira landfill).
Does anyone know if the local authorities are aware
of the ornithological importance of the area? Not only for migrant
waders, but also for the entire local population of Kentish Plover!
Staffan Rodebrand, Sweden
Message from David Monticelli on 2nd February 2006, concerning the
mentioned destruction of Cabo da Praia, as follows:
I had a chance to visit the Azores a couple of years ago, including
this famous site at Cabo da Praia. For those familiar with Azores
birding, it is rather clear that Cabo is indeed the sole magnet
throughout the archipelago where virtually all American waders will
pop at some point. I was planning a second trip this autumn with
some friends given the recent news about Corvo and its potential
for passerines. Cabo da Praia was of course one of the spot of the
trip. I think we are with few tools to 'defend' this site, but there
is an Azorean guy that lives in Terceira (can't remember his name
but Helder Costa from the Portuguese committee will know) that made
a final thesis during the 90ties about this site and its importance
for birds. Not only was it good for American waders, but also to
the Kentish Plover that breeds there and feeding on an rare species
of fly that lives in those ponds. This guy was already defending
the site against development but he said that the main tool could
be a petition.
David Monticelli, Belgium
|Photos: The quarry at
Cabo da Praia in January and February 2006. The most famous Azorean
bird locality, and an important Western Palearctic wader site, that
should be treated much better than this. Photos: Staffan
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